The Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games kicked off in Vancouver on July 8 and wrapped up this past Saturday after four intense days of competition.  Events took place around the Lower Mainland, at the University of British Columbia, the University Golf Club and the Zone Bowling Centre in Richmond.  With the hosting of the 2014 Games, Vancouver became one of only two cities in the Americas to host the Special Olympics Games, Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Special Olympics - opening ceremonyThe opening ceremony was held at Thunderbird Arena at UBC where spectators were treated to a parade of athletes, dancers, and feature performances from local singers, Tyson Venegas and Victoria Duffield.  If you didn’t get a chance to attend, check out this clip from Global News.

More than 2,000 athletes, coaches and officials from across Canada participated and a total of 2,214 medals were awarded.  For the first time, the Summer Games featured 11 sports and the final medal count by sport was: 10- and 5-pin bowling (336), athletics (645), power-lifting (105), rhythmic gymnastics (150), soccer (120), softball (180), swimming (645), basketball (120), bocce (60) and golf (27).

Along with being the largest Summer Games in history, it also featured a few other firsts:

  • Three new sports – golf, basketball and bocce
  • A sustainability team focused on six key themes – food, water, energy, waste, transportation & accessibility
  • Six free healthy athlete screening programs – vision, audiology, podiatry, dentistry, physical therapy and health & wellness.

Special Olympics - medalsThese top athletes prepared for three years to compete at the national level and this past week was a true celebration of competition and athleticism.  Throughout the week, the athletes inspired all of us with their dedication, competitive spirit and sportsmanship,” said Cathy Priestner Allinger, Chair of the Games Organizing Committee. “We saw records broken, personal bests achieved and indomitable spirit.”  Congratulations to all athletes and their successes and a big appreciation goes out to the many coaches, officials, volunteers, and sponsors who helped make this event possible!  The torch has now been passed on to Cornerbrook, Newfoundland and Labrador, who will be hosting the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games.

Check out this website for photos of all the events that took place.